A fire that engulfed a mixed-use building, housing flats and a business center, has spurred an investigation into its origins as authorities work to determine the cause of the blaze. The incident, which unfolded on Friday, led to the evacuation of fifteen individuals and saw the tireless efforts of 100 firefighters and fifteen fire engines battling the flames.
The London Fire Brigade swiftly responded to the alarm bells, with crews rushing to the scene on Fairfield Road, Bow, at 6pm. Over the course of nearly three hours, firefighters grappled with the inferno that decimated flats on the fifth and sixth floors of the building.
While the fire’s destructive path was a sight to behold, it is heartening to report that no injuries were reported among those evacuated.
A resident, who identified himself as Drew in an interview with the PA Media news agency, recounted the harrowing experience of witnessing the fire unfold. Drew raised concerns about the fire alarm’s apparent silence during the ordeal, though these claims are yet to be verified by official sources.
Drew explained, “The flats at the top are two floors, I saw people through the windows as the fire was going on. The fire alarm wasn’t going off, they had absolutely no idea. The first thing I did was call the fire service, then I ran downstairs to make sure that the building was evacuated and told the fire warden the flats hadn’t been evacuated. It was quite clear the fire was coming from the roof, it wasn’t coming from the flats. I ran back upstairs and grabbed my bag then ran down my corridor and banged on the doors shouting ‘fire’.”
The urgency of the situation was palpable as the Brigade’s 999 Control center was inundated with 123 calls at the peak of the fire. Thick plumes of black smoke billowed into the sky, forming a stark contrast to the efforts of the firefighters below.
As the fire crews strategized their approach, two of the Brigade’s 32-meter turntable ladders were deployed as water towers, aiming to quell the flames from an elevated vantage point. Firefighting teams from Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, Homerton, Shadwell, Islington, Plaistow, Shoreditch, Lewisham, and nearby stations collaborated to combat the fire.
The London Fire Brigade now faces the task of unearthing the fire’s origins, initiating an investigation into the incident.
Residents impacted by the fire have been advised that re-entry to the building may not be feasible until Sunday, underscoring the ongoing challenges in the wake of this disaster. As investigations continue, the community remains united in gratitude for the responders who rushed to the scene, confronting danger head-on to safeguard lives and property.